BU Arab-Russian Workshop

Russia and the Arab World: History, Literature, Arts
Pardee School, Boston University
121 Bay State Rd., Boston, MA 02215
Feb 17-18, 2017
Free and open to the public

Recent events have highlighted the conjunction between Russia and the Arab world, but few analysts have thought through the historical and cultural backgrounds. This workshop launched an interdisciplinary conversation across humanities, social sciences, and the arts, bringing together scholars (and musicians, a filmmaker, and a novelist) who might not ordinarily engage with each other’s work. We reflected on such moments as Russian Orthodox missionary experiences and travel narratives about the Holy Land and Greater Syria, Arab writings about encounters with Russia and the USSR, Soviet relations with Arab Communist parties, the history of literary translation between Russian and Arabic, Soviet-era cultural policy and diplomacy, and the artistic and human ramifications of all these. At the Russian Revolution’s centennial, this workshop asked an important, genuinely open question: Are there meaningful continuities across the three periods (Czarist, Soviet, and post-Soviet) of Arab-Russian ties?

Sponsored by the BU Center for the Humanities, Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies, BU Middle East & North Africa Studies Program, Provost’s Arts Initiative, and BU Department of World Languages and Literatures.

BU Arab-Russian Workshop 2-17-17

Feb 17 afternoon and evening

3:15pm Organizer’s Welcome – Margaret Litvin, Boston University

3:30-5:30pm Orthodox Church Institutions and Early Arab-Russian Ties

Chair: Betty Anderson, Boston University

5:30-6:30 pm Reception, Pardee School foyer (121 Bay State Rd.)

Saturday Feb 18

 9-9:30am Coffee and pastries, 121 Bay State Rd.

 9:30-11:00 am 19th-20th c. Migrations, Connections, and Echoes

Chair: Simon Rabinovitch, BU

11-11:30am Break – short walk to The Castle

11:30-12:45 pm Reading and lunch

The Castle, 225 Bay State Road
Novelist Alexandra Chreiteh reads from and discusses her 2009 novel Ali and his Russian Mother
Buffet lunch
Q&A moderated by Margaret Litvin

 12:45-1pm Break – short walk back to 121 BSR

 1-2:30pm The USSR and the Interwar Arab Left

Chair: Katerina Clark, Yale University

2:30-2:45 pm Break

 2:45-4:25pm Cold War Literature, Art, and Rhetoric

Chair: Alexis Peri, BU

4:30-5pm Concluding Discussion